Colombia commemorates five years of peace with the FARC

In a renewed act of reconciliation, the signatories of the 2016 accord symbolically gathered in Bogota for the first time in five years and reaffirmed their commitment before representatives of the international community and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.

Side by side, the former president (2010-2018) and Nobel Peace Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos and the former Commander-in-Chief of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) Rodrigo Londoño, each in their own way, praised the progress of “peace train“.

The presence of the current president Ivan Duque, who was for a long time an opponent of the 2016 agreement because he considered it too favorable to the FARC, added to the force of the ceremony organized in the premises of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP ), a tribunal created to do justice to the nine million victims of the conflict: killed (260,000), mutilated, missing and displaced.

We insist on asking forgiveness from the victims of our actions during the conflict, we understand their pain a little more every day and this fills us with sadness and shame.“said Mr. Londoño, better known by his war name of”Timochenko“.

Nothing and no one can shake our belief that the path we have taken is the right one“, assured the one who was at the head of nearly 13,000 combatants, now demobilized and who are trying to reintegrate into civilian life. Nearly 300 of them have nevertheless been murdered since 2016.

Former President Juan Manuel Santos, the man who managed to convince the FARC to sit down at the negotiating table, took stock “positive“of the five years of the agreement signed with Mr. Londoño, which”has respected its commitments“.

The peace train that so many wanted to derail or stop continues to advance“, judged Mr. Santos, expressing in passing his”satisfaction“to see that the current President Duque, one of his greatest political opponents, is also”got on that train“.

– “Risks to peace” –

With the 2016 agreement, often praised by diplomats as a “model for the world“, the FARC guerrilla, a movement of peasants who took up arms in the 1960s, in the midst of the Cold War, has become a legal political party (under the name”Common“) with guaranteed representation in parliament, but without real influence at the ballot box.

The agreement signed five years ago provided for political and agrarian reforms – the land issue is a key to the conflict – which in theory should be implemented by 2031.

While it has significantly reduced the violence, many armed groups continue to rage in the country, including FARC dissidents who have resumed arms, who have exploited to their advantage the void left in the mountains by the departure of the United Nations. former Marxist guerrillas.

These groups, numbering nearly 10,000 members, live off drug trafficking and illegal mining, contributing to deforestation.

The security situation in these remote and marginalized areas remains critical, with violence against local communities, in particular indigenous people and of African descent, assassinations of social leaders, human rights and environmental defenders.

The head of the United Nations again warned, as he had done the day before, against “risks to peace“posed by”armed groups linked to drug trafficking“.

It is not too late to reverse this trend by concentrating all efforts (…) in the places where the violence is most intense“, underlined Mr. Guterres, renewing the”full support” de l’ON.

For his part, after calling for a minute’s silence and enumerating his government’s actions in favor of peace, President Duque called for a “total truth” and “not a tailor-made truth“for the victims of the conflict.”All of us here want to see effective, swift and real justice“, insisted the conservative president.

A frequent target of the Colombian right, the JEP is preparing to hand down its first sentences against the former FARC command for more than 21,000 kidnappings. It must also try soldiers for the executions of some 6,400 civilians.

In exchange for the recognition of their crimes and reparations made to the victims, the accused will be able to benefit from alternative sentences to prison.

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